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A meditation on Ephesians 2:11-22


In Ephesians 2:11-22 Paul describes the people of God brought into being through the death of Jesus Christ.

In Christ the historic people of God, Israel, finds its true meaning and its true identity. The physical nation, Israel, is a prophetic symbol that finds its fulfilment firstly in Christ, the one true Israelite, and secondly in the spiritual people of God: those, both Jew and Gentile, who believe in Christ and, united to him, are also united to each other.

Paul explains: once the Gentiles were outside of the people of God, without hope and without God in the world [verse 12]; once there was hostility between Gentiles and Jews [verses 15-16]; once the Gentiles were far way from God, foreigners, aliens – not members of his household [17,19], with no access to God.

But now:

Through the blood of Christ the Gentiles have been brought near [13]; the dividing wall between Jew and Gentile has been abolished [14-15] and instead of division and hostility there is peace [14-17].

Through Christ both Jew and Gentile have the same access to God [18], Gentiles and Jews being fellow citizens of God's people and fellow members of God's household [19].

This new people of God has a common foundation: the prophets and the apostles, and a common cornerstone, Jesus Christ [20].

Together, Jew and Gentile, are being built into God's dwelling place, a holy temple in which God lives by his Spirit [21,22].

In these few verses, and again in 3:1-21, Paul outlaws any continuance of the historic distinction between Jew and Gentile under the old covenants, and all present or future distinctions between Jew and Gentile that man might suggest. Christ, by fulfilling the whole law, has made the two one [verse 14].

As Paul states in Romans 3:22-24: 'There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.' And, in Galatians 3:28: 'There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.'


Copyright Rosemary Bardsley 2006, 2010.